Los Angeles underground electro mogul Steve Aoki supercharges the lineup at the I Love This City music festival this weekend at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View.
Hosting more than 40 DJs and producers — including Afrojack, Sebastian Ingrosso, Tiësto, David Guetta and Laidback Luke — appearing over two days on three stages, I Love This City producers LiveNation and Skills were smart to feature Aoki, head of the widely influential dance label Dim Mak.
Aoki, who has been selling out 30,000-person venues in Europe, played his biggest live show in the U.S. at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, promoting his 2011 debut album “Wonderland.”
“San Francisco is one of my favorite cities to play in the entire world,” Aoki said via Skype from Portugal. “I always think like, ‘OK, bigger cities means bigger shows.’ But that’s not always true. Pound for pound, the awareness for electronic dance music is really high in San Francisco. It’s a very potent city.
“San Francisco for whatever reason might be one of the biggest hubs for [electronic dance music] in the U.S.”
Aoki has a lot of history here as well. Born in 1977, he grew up a punk in Los Angeles, inspired by the DIY ethic pioneered in the ’80s Bay Area hardcore scene. He played historic 924 Gilman and Mission Records as a punk.
He also promoted events while studying at UC Santa Barbara, and started Dim Mak in 1996. Ironically, amid the gutting of the recorded music industry, Dim Mak has grown to 18 people and continues to expand.
With LiveNation backing his recent Dim Mak “Dead Meat Tour,” Aoki describes the major promoter’s investment in I Love This City as proof of dance music’s ascendancy.
“It’s great because they have a lot of amazing venues and they have a huge infrastructure to support all the artists that can play these venues and all the people that can come out, so I’m happy to work with them.”
Aoki said he’ll be ditching the program Ableton and DJing his set Friday, which features dozens of Aoki originals. “I’m cuing everything. I try to tell not only the musical story, but also the visual story to all my songs. You’re just going to get the full Aoki experience, the music and visual interaction. I love being able to interact with the crowd that comes to see my show.”
IF YOU GO
I Love This City
With Steve Aoki, Afrojack, Sebastian Ingrosso, Tiësto, David Guetta, Laidback Luke and more
Where: Shoreline Amphitheatre, 1 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View
When: 1:30 to 11:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday
Tickets: $50 to $60 one day, $99 both days
Note: Free charter bus service from AT&T Park to and from Shoreline is offered both days; visit www.ilovethiscityfestival.com to reserve.
Main stage acts: